I'm looking for any exoplanet nomenclature, official, semi-official, proposed, or just a good idea, beyond what can already be found on Wikipedia at


Or via the obvious Google searches.

This is a vaguely sci-fi related request. Lowercase Latin alphabet isn't going to do it once we get out there, and I like the proposal for Greece-roman mythology but there are simply too many planets now, and will be more over time.

As a side issue I'm already familiar with Ian Banks Culture addressing nomenclature, so I accept that humanity being what it is, we can expect about a hundred or so "Vulcan" orbiting various different stars, much as there are 37 "Greenville"s in the USA, currently.

A pointer to a really great fictional idea or naming scheme aside from the schemes mentioned about might be useful.

Interesting technical (non literary) naming schemes beyond the most obvious and trivial ordinal systems could be interesting.

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    $\begingroup$ An integral problem with nomenclature is its function. There can be no objective standards for good naming conventions unless we know the purpose of the names. The current IAU convention is useful because it fits the purpose of distinguishing between planets as we discover them without having to rename them later. What purpose would you want your desired naming convention to fulfill? $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Apr 2, 2014 at 19:47
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    $\begingroup$ Public naming campaigns http://www.iau.org/public/themes/naming_exoplanets/ $\endgroup$
    – Clausia
    Apr 2, 2014 at 19:55
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    $\begingroup$ Considering that many astronomers of this generation grew up on Star Trek, and were possibly inspired by it, planets discovered around stars which appear in Star Trek will most likely inherit their fictional names. Say a planet were discovered around Omega Leonis, especially if it were within its habitable zone, it would most likely receive the nickname of Kronos by many people. Sci-Fi will definitely play a role in nomenclature, especially since Star Trek uses the locations of actual stars. $\endgroup$ Apr 3, 2014 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ Some planets are named after the instrument they were discovered with (I'm primarily talking about the Kepler space observatory because of its success with planet-hunting). The trouble is, we don't know a lot about these planets - besides data about their orbits and parent star, and so it seems hard to come up with a name for a planet you know virtually nothing about. That said, these names are by no means permanent - at the moment, they consist of Kepler-# $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Aug 9, 2014 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


I realise that the following is not a great answer to the question, but was a bit too much to fit into a comment.

The official word on exoplanet naming is


The rules for the scientific designation of an exoplanet are clear and I think will remain so in the published literature for the forseeable future.

However, here is an earnest contribution to the literature which sees the need to change things, especially to cope with planets in multiple star systems.


But perhaps the big news is that the IAU is setting up to allow "popular" names to be given to exoplanets and are running a competition to name a batch. These names will not replace the scientific designations, but will be recognised by the IAU.



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